Neil McFarquhar's new book

Neil McFarquhar, who ran the NYT's Cairo bureau between 2000 and 2005, has a new semi-autobiographical book out on his life in the Middle East, as a boy and later as a reporter. The book, titled The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East, is billed as an attempt to show the every day side of the Middle East, away from the wars and headlines. There's an interview with McFarquhar at in which he elaborates on the book and his experience as a reporter in the Middle East. Some good anecdotes about Fairouz's concert at the Pyramids and more in there.

You can get the book's first chapter here. [PDF]